Tips for Setting the Programmable Thermostat for All-Day Comfort and Energy Savings

Programmable thermostats can be an effective tool to help reduce energy costs if used properly. The temperature can be set to allow less use of your cooling and heating systems during periods when everyone is away or occupants are sleeping. Then your home can be brought to a comfortable level just before people return home or awaken. There are three basic types of programmable thermostats. The model in your home will determine the settings that are available to you. 7-day thermostats – Different programs can be set on different days with up to four different settings within a single day. This is the most flexible thermostat. 5+2 thermostats – The weekday program stays the same, but a different setting can be used for the weekend days. 5-1-1 thermostats – Saturday can have one program and Sunday another, while weekdays can use another program. Depending on the type of thermostat in your home, a correct programming schedule can be employed to reduce energy costs without sacrificing your home comfort. Here are some tips to get you started programming your thermostat. Set for long periods of time – Keep the thermostat set for the maximum energy savings for long periods during the day when people are away from home. Eight hours is usually considered a minimum in order to achieve meaningful...

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Why Is Sealing and Insulation Important in the Summer Months?

Summer heat in Texas often sends residents running to the cool of air conditioning for comfort. Running air conditioning in an inefficient home, however, can result in large utility bills and reduced indoor air comfort. Improving your home’s sealing and insulation can decrease utility costs and provide optimal comfort. Sealing and insulation may be done by homeowners using the following steps: Locate Air Leaks The first step to improve your home’s sealing and insulation is to identify areas of air leakage. Some leaks will be easy to identify because you can feel the air moving. Other leaks may be found with a visual inspection. Take care to investigate the areas around common sources of air leaks: Crawl spaces Sill plates Top plates Duct registers throughout the home Attic hatches Recessed lighting Plumbing stack vents Dropped soffit Vent fans, commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms Dryer vents Walls that are missing plaster Fireplace dampers Outdoor water spigots Moldings around doors, ceilings and baseboards Electrical plates including outlets and light switches Sealing Air Leaks The second step when updating your home’s sealing and insulation is to fill all openings with the appropriate material. The correct material to use to seal you home’s air leaks depends on the size and location of the...

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4 Myths About Saving Energy in Summer and How They Can Cost You

Because of hiked A/C costs, summer is the season when Texas homeowners can expect the highest energy bills. What are you doing to cut energy bills? If you succumb to any myths about saving energy in the summer, you could be spending more than necessary. Debunk these myths here and now to make optimal energy savings a reality. MYTH: Crank the thermostat down to cool the house faster. Most times, this simply wastes energy as the temperature gradually drops below your ideal comfort zone. The best method is to turn the thermostat down one degree at a time if you’re overheated. MYTH: Turn off the A/C when you leave home. The idea is to save energy while you’re gone, but turning off the A/C completely is a mistake. Excessive heat could damage your belongings, and resuming a comfortable temperature takes a lot of time and energy. As a compromise, turn the temperature up 8 to 10 degrees and set the programmable thermostat to resume a comfortable temperature before you get home. MYTH: Run ceiling fans 24/7. Like other myths about saving energy in summer, there’s some truth to this one. After all, ceiling fans help you stay cool while running the A/C less, but the wind chill created by a...

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Good Ductwork Design Guidelines for New Home or Renovation

Whether you’re excited by plans for a new home or expanding your current Trinity area home to include rooms you’ve long dreamed about, good ductwork design will pay off in comfort and energy efficiency for years to come. The elements of good ductwork design begin as soon as your house plans begin. Communication The time to incorporate good ductwork design into your new home or addition is while you, the architect and the general contractor are planning the work on paper. A mechanical contractor will design the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and ductwork, but this work must be integrated into the overall design, not squeezed in as an afterthought. For example, no ductwork should run on exterior walls, nor should it run through untreated airspaces such as a crawlspace or attic. Measurements by the Book Your mechanical contractor should follow the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) manuals on residential HVAC systems to ensure you receive the right equipment in the most efficient size to adequately heat and cool your Trinity area home or addition. Manual J helps the contractor calculate the heating and cooling load for each room of your house. This is done by measuring room...

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Most Common Air Conditioning Problems

The average Trinity area homeowner can expect their air conditioning system to last anywhere from 15 to 20 years with the right amount of care and maintenance. While a lucky few may go that entire time without encountering any problems with their A/C system, chances are you might run into an unexpected problem or two. Here are four common A/C problems that you’re likely to experience throughout the course of A/C system ownership and the solutions that could help solve them: The unit runs, but it doesn’t cool – Make sure the condenser, located in the outdoor A/C cabinet, isn’t being blocked by tall weeds, debris or other obstructions. Blockages are just one of the many common A/C problems that could prevent adequate cooling. Poor cooling performance – First, try lowering the thermostat by five degrees. If the problem persists, inspect and clean the evaporator coil located within the inside cabinet of your A/C system. If the system still does not cool after a few hours, you may have an air conditioner that’s too small to handle your home’s cooling needs. In this case, you might need to replace your existing A/C with a brand-new, more energy-efficient model. The unit...

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Attic Ventilation and Insulation Enhance Home Comfort, Efficiency and Health

The weather’s already getting warmer in the Trinity area, and it’ll soon be time to run your air conditioner day and night to stay cool in the notorious Texas heat. The number one best way to ensure a high level of comfort at the lowest possible cost is to schedule an air conditioner tuneup before you need your system 24/7. Why AC Maintenance Is Essential Over the course of the long cooling season, your air conditioner loses efficiency. Dust builds up on essential components, scale and grime builds up on coils and belts and connections loosen. An air conditioner tuneup addresses these issues and more to: Lower energy bills Lower your carbon footprint Increase comfort Extend the operating life of the air conditioner Help prevent common AC problems during the hottest time of the year What an Air Conditioner Tuneup Includes A skilled technician from a reputable contractor will include these key checkpoints in your tune-up: Lubricate moving parts to prevent friction Test the controls of the system for optimum cycling. Inspect the wiring and terminals for corrosion and tighten connections. Measure the airflow and refrigerant levels. Clean and inspect essential components like the coils and fan. Flush the condensate...

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Attic Ventilation and Insulation Enhance Home Comfort, Efficiency and Health

The weather’s already getting warmer in the Trinity area, and it’ll soon be time to run your air conditioner day and night to stay cool in the notorious Texas heat. The number one best way to ensure a high level of comfort at the lowest possible cost is to schedule an air conditioner tuneup before you need your system 24/7. Why AC Maintenance Is Essential Over the course of the long cooling season, your air conditioner loses efficiency. Dust builds up on essential components, scale and grime builds up on coils and belts and connections loosen. An air conditioner tuneup addresses these issues and more to: Lower energy bills Lower your carbon footprint Increase comfort Extend the operating life of the air conditioner Help prevent common AC problems during the hottest time of the year What an Air Conditioner Tuneup Includes A skilled technician from a reputable contractor will include these key checkpoints in your tune-up: Lubricate moving parts to prevent friction Test the controls of the system for optimum cycling. Inspect the wiring and terminals for corrosion and tighten connections. Measure the airflow and refrigerant levels. Clean and inspect essential components like the coils and fan. Flush the condensate drain to prevent clogs....

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An Air Conditioner Tune-Up Is Essential for Spring

The weather’s already getting warmer in the Trinity area, and it’ll soon be time to run your air conditioner day and night to stay cool in the notorious Texas heat. The number one best way to ensure a high level of comfort at the lowest possible cost is to schedule an air conditioner tuneup before you need your system 24/7. Why AC Maintenance Is Essential Over the course of the long cooling season, your air conditioner loses efficiency. Dust builds up on essential components, scale and grime builds up on coils and belts and connections loosen. An air conditioner tuneup addresses these issues and more to: Lower energy bills Lower your carbon footprint Increase comfort Extend the operating life of the air conditioner Help prevent common AC problems during the hottest time of the year What an Air Conditioner Tuneup Includes A skilled technician from a reputable contractor will include these key checkpoints in your tune-up: Lubricate moving parts to prevent friction Test the controls of the system for optimum cycling. Inspect the wiring and terminals for corrosion and tighten connections. Measure the airflow and refrigerant levels. Clean and inspect essential components like the coils and fan. Flush the condensate drain to prevent clogs....

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Follow the Energy Star to the Most Efficient HVAC Systems

As people become more and more aware of environmental concerns, the demand for change increases. To that end, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the Energy Star program. The purpose of the program is to spread awareness about the benefits of “going green” and to make it easy for consumers to find eco-friendly products and appliances. Since its inception back in the ’90s, the program has been a huge success, helping to significantly lower the global carbon footprint. But the EPA didn’t stop there. To distinguish products that are vastly superior in terms of energy efficiency, the Energy Star Most Efficient program was created. Find out how an Energy Star Most Efficient HVAC system is the cleanest and greenest energy-saving machine. How Appliances Qualify for the Most Efficient Program Those that have earned the Most Efficient label have undergone rigorous testing designed by the EPA. This testing determines the best from the rest. For any product to qualify it must first meet the most recent set of standards issued by the Energy Star program. Most Efficient products are then put through further testing to ensure they are worthy of the exalted title. Of course, installing such an exceptional appliance...

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Why You Should Hire an HVAC Contractor That’s Licensed, Bonded and Insured

When you hire an HVAC contractor to perform work in your home, you’re putting your comfort and safety in their hands. This makes it vital that you know for sure that a company is responsible and reliable. As part of the process of narrowing down your choices, it’s wise to contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check a prospect’s history with the state licensing board, and ask each contractor if they’re licensed, bonded, and insured. An ethical HVAC professional will gladly provide you with their state license number, bonding information, and proof of liability insurance coverage. Let’s look at what these three key credentials mean, and the benefits they offer you: Licensed Trustworthy HVAC contractors are licensed through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). In order to qualify, a contractor must meet the education and experience requirements, and pass the state licensing exam. As part of the application process, they must provide proof of insurance, and reveal any prior disciplinary actions or criminal convictions. When you hire a licensed contractor, you’ll have peace of mind that they’re qualified and reputable. Bonded A reliable HVAC company will ensure that they’ve met the bonding requirements of the municipalities where they...

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